Posted by Rachel James, Partner
Damages for painter and decorator exposed to asbestos at LF Europe Limited including funding for immunotherapy
Rachel James recently concluded a claim for Trevor who was sadly diagnosed with mesothelioma. Trevor spent the majority of his working life working for LF Europe Limited who were previously known as Peter Black Footwear & Accessories Limited. He worked for them as a painter and decorator from the late 1970s and had been exposed to asbestos during the course of his work when he had to brush down walls and metal girders sprayed with asbestos, to prepare them for painting.
Rachel was able to obtain judgment from the Court in Trevor’s favour very early on in the claim and he received a substantial interim payment of compensation.
Trevor began chemotherapy treatment, but sadly did not tolerate it well. He took advice from Mesothelioma UK about immunotherapy treatment and was referred to an oncologist in his area and was advised that when his condition began to progress, the treatment would be an option for him.
Trevor was a very hands on grandfather, he previously provided considerable care for his granddaughter, picking her up from school and taking care of her with his wife whilst his daughter was at work. He also undertook DIY and gardening services to his family members because he was a very skilled tradesman. In addition, his wife did not drive so was reliant on Trevor in this regard.
Due to an odd rule in the law, it is not generally possible to recover compensation personally for future services after your lifetime. Trevor was very keen to settle his claim in his lifetime, but also wanted to ensure that compensation was obtained for the services he provided to his granddaughter and his family.
Rachel worked with a specialist barrister and decided that a living claim would be brought for Trevor, but that it would also include a claim for future services to ensure that his family were fully compensated.
There was conflicting law on the point but one earlier case that of Lowe v Guise, had allowed a living claimant to recover future DIY services after he had passed away. This had succeeded in other cases but not at Court of Appeal level, therefore it was not known which way the Court would decide the matter. Trevor also needed to ensure that he would have his immunotherapy treatment funded when he needed it in the future.
Trevor’s case came close to trial but in the end, settlement was agreed in excess of £300,000 excluding immunotherapy treatment costs. The settlement was enhanced to compensate Trevor for some of the future services that he would have provided throughout his future lifetime had he not developed mesothelioma.
In terms of treatment costs, it was agreed that Trevor could apply to the Court for money whenever he needed it for treatment that was not funded by the NHS. Just following the settlement, Trevor commenced immunotherapy treatment privately and is doing extremely well.
His treatment continues to be funded through interim payments provided by the Defendant and Rachel is managing the interim payments with the Defendant on his behalf.
Trevor’s daughter Marie said: “Royds Withy King were so helpful during a difficult time in our lives. Rachel James our solicitor was sympathetic whilst asking questions and returning my calls/emails quickly when I had questions for her. She helped us to understand the legal information and gave us choice on how we wished our case to go. Ultimately we won our case and got the outcome we wanted; which was personal damages, compensation and funding for private immunotherapy treatment that is not available on the NHS. We cannot thank Royds Withy King enough especially Rachel.”